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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Mothers (05/02/05)

TITLE: Nate's Epiphany
By Val Clark


ĎIíve been saving up all year, Mum.í I open the Motherís Day card and laugh at the line drawing of a huge pile of smelly clothes. Oh yeah, sheíd love that one. Iíve seen cockroaches run gasping from my smelly socks. The card was funny, but not quite right Ė Mum doesnít do my washing anymore. Dad got work on the other side of the continent and I didnít want to go. Iím sharing a house with two guys, studying, permanently broke and living on packets of cheap soup, white bread and the occasional pizza.

This one looks interesting. A mum with spiky hair like sheís had an electric shock. ĎMother you are special/not just on this day in May/itís on every day of every year/that you brighten up my day!í Nup. No way. Sentimentalityís not her strong suit. Sheíd pretend to gag before she finished reading the first line.

I smother a laugh at the perfect card, turn it over, look at the price and nearly have a heart attack. You gotta be joking! I dig the coins out of my pocket and count them. I have just enough for the card and postage. On the other hand, thereís no food at home. I could buy a pizza for that. Hands clenched in my jeans pockets I slope out of the shop. Iíve got two days to find a card and post it. I head over to the discount stores. More sentimental rubbish at half the price. I canít win but at least we would have soup for dinner.

Iím studying graphic design. I could create my own card. Mum probably wouldnít mind. She was sentimental that way Ė saving every present, card, decoration and painting Iíd made. My only overhead would be postage. Thereíd be pizza for dinner Ė just. Problem: Iíd have to think of something snappy to write in it.

The graphic on the front has to describe what sheís really like. I play around with several ideas before settling for one of her in jeans, kneeling and weeding the vegetables. She said she feels closest to God in the garden plus nobody ever disturbs her. Thatís because when we do we get roped into helping her. For a moment I daydream, imagining her on the other side of the continent digging away and chatting about me.

ĎIím a bit worried about, Ben, the boy Nateís sharing the house with, Jesus. He sounded drunk when I called yesterday and it was only 10am. This is a difficult time for Nate, finding his own way in the world, but I know heís carved in the palm of your hands.í

That was a favorite of hers. ĎCanít forget anything carved in the palm of your hands, Nate.í

I added long pink earplugs to the graphic. Mum would laugh at that. Iím a drummer and mum was cool about us practicing at home. Heavy Metal wasnít quite her style so she pottered around the yard with funny plugs sticking out from her ears, her dog padding faithfully behind. The guys in the band laughed, but not unkindly. She always stuck her head in the door, said ĎHi,í and chatted for a few minutes.

She believed in having an open house, she said, and my friends rarely abused that. I suppose I did. Some Sunday mornings sheíd get up and thereíd be wall to wall people sleeping in the family room. She never freaked out. Somehow there was always plenty of milk and breakfast cereal to go around.

I place a graphic next to my image of her. Itís sort of like me. Sheíll get the message. Skinny, clothes three sizes too big, long hair pulled back into a low, stringy pony tail, cool shades and holey jeans. Iím kneeling next to her, turning over the soil. Am I praying? I think I might be. Yeah, I am. Praying for her and Dad andÖ Ben. And for me, because my future seems so clouded and Iíd like it to be clear.

I fiddle with the graphic, tidying it up until Iím satisfied. I canít put off the inevitable any longer. The caretaker will be locking the computer rooms any minute now. I find a funky font and type 'Broke as usual, Mum. This is all I could do for Motherís Day. When Iím rich Iíll buy you a Ferrari.' Itís not quite right. My fingers hover over the keyboard. 'Donít worry about me. Like you said, Iím in good Hands. Love you, Nate.'

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This article has been read 1085 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dixie Phillips05/09/05
Loved the faith and unconditional love this mother showed her son. You did a great job revealing the feelings of the son and the mother.
Kyle Chezum05/09/05
Good, interesting story!
Lynda Lee Schab 05/10/05
It's just like a guy to be shopping for Mother's Day cards at the last minute LOL. Loved this entry - smooth flow, great angle on "Mothers."
Blessings, Lynda
Suzanne R05/14/05
I love the way you've got into the mind of Nate and really brought out the great respect he has for his mother. He sure is one super-blessed young man, having a mother like that! I especially enjoy the mental picture of the mother kneeeling in the garden with the pink earplugs and a house full of heavy metal playing young people in holey jeans and probably earrings in their noses and lips, yet the mother totally unphased! A great entry!
Crista Darr05/18/05
This was so creative and you made me love the characters!
Christine Sparrow07/23/05
I felt like I was watching it....not reading it ! That's GOT to be an art.